A step of courage and the Ocean of Help

Baba says, ‘when the child maintains courage, the Father definitely helps‘. It is a both a blessing and an inheritance from the Father.

As I move along the journey, there are many storms that come often in the form of old sanskars. And some sanskars can be deep, incredibly hard to change. Yes, I have made progress but I realize there is still a lot more to do. For example, I may have conquered the vice of anger in its gross form but perhaps I still get irritated, I still mentally criticize and judge. These are subtle forms of anger that can be hard to move, cause sorrow to the self and to others.

I know I have it but it’s too unpleasant to deal with. So I push it under the rug, so to speak, and keep going. When I behave under the influence of anger and hurt someone, I apologize and move on. Clearly, I don’t mean to hurt anyone, I tell myself. Then, other times, when I notice that there are certain specific roles or certain people that seem to trigger this sanskar within me, I subtly rearrange my life to avoid them. I move teams or centers, I change departments or roles and things go okay for sometime but the sanskar always comes back, usually with more intensity.

Somewhere deep down, unconsciously, we believe that these tough sanskars will disappear on their own. That because I love Baba and I follow the disciplines, that entitles me to be free from these sanskars automatically. It doesn’t. In fact, believing this is a little bit like blind faith, it is carelessness.

You need to have courage, says Baba. Courage is the power to face. It is perhaps the greatest quality I can have as a Brahmin on the path of spiritual transformation. Courage transforms fear into determination. Courage means to do what must be done even when it is difficult or risky. Even when I know that this is going to hurt, that I might need to sacrifice my pride, courage gives me the strength to make that sacrifice. Courage is pushing myself our of my comfort zone and facing up to the challenge, it means I jump in to the arena.

In fact, even in programs like AA, the very first step is to acknowledge that there is a problem and that I want to do something about it. This is often the hardest step and takes the longest. Okay, so I decide enough is enough, I don’t want to run away from or avoid this sanskar anymore, I want to face it down once and for all. I jump in to the arena…there comes the sanskar and I fall flat! I then look up at Baba and either complain: ‘Baba, I jumped in but You didn’t help me!’ or I am hurt and plead: ‘Baba, I need help, give me power, make this sanskar go away’.

I am the Ocean of Help, says Baba, but there is a method to receive help.

It isn’t that I simply jump into the ocean, I also need to know how to swim. Along with courage or the power to face, I need the power of determination. Often, I have the high aim, I promise myself and Baba that I will not get angry but I also follow that up with a waste thought. ‘I have to do this, but…’, ‘I have to fly ahead but,…’. There is always a ‘but’ that weakens my promise or that determination. I want to do it but, it’s the center, but it’s this person, but it’s this circumstance etc.

Determination is tapasya. In bhakti, they show taspaswis that performed intense tapasya to gain a particular power or fulfill their aim. They are shown standing on one leg or sitting in the midst of an ant hill etc. They succeeded because there were no ‘but’s. There wasn’t the thought that: ‘I will stand on one leg but today it’s raining, so I will go inside’ or ‘I would continue but these ants are disturbing me..’. There are no excuses where there is determination, there is just a concentrated, single-minded dedication to the aim.

If I decide I have to conquer anger, then no matter who it is, what the circumstance, whether someone insults me, criticizes me, lies about me to others, even opposes me…it cannot shake the foot of determination, it cannot break my tapasya. I refuse to let go of my good wishes and pure feelings- not for their sake, but for my sake, for my protection.

When I show such courage and determination, then I don’t have to ask for Baba’s help, I receive it automatically. ‘I am bound in the drama to help you’, He says, ‘you can call it a blessing or an inheritance’. It’s not that He can or might, He has to help me make good on the promise I made. That’s His role in the drama….I just have to learn to take benefit.

I have to become worthy, I have to elevate myself and so it is also I that has to make the effort. At this confluence age, the soul fills itself with power for the new cycle. I don’t receive power if someone else does the work for me. I have to generate the power, build up the confidence, develop fearlessness by showing courage myself, by defeating the demons myself. The Father comes and gives me the understanding of how to do this, He teaches me what real effort is. To the extent that I imbibe this, accordingly I receive a reward. 

Don’t ever doubt your courage, says Baba, you have shown courage from day one. Even when sanyasis believe that purity in a household is a pipe dream, I took it on. I dared to remain pure and when I showed courage and determination, God helped by making me experience that: yes!, in fact this is not only possible, it is my birthright! You are a worship-worthy deity, purity is your nature, He made me feel. That deep experience, that feeling that I felt in my bones pushed me forward and because of that, not only did I imbibe purity, but did so with ease.

And so when I get knocked down a few times, I don’t allow myself to get careless, I don’t stay down and indulge in self-pity, in hopelessness, in disheartenment. I dust myself and get back up. I don’t doubt my strength and retreat, I observe, make adjustments and continue to face, to maintain courage.

There is no magic formula to build soul power, it is plain old courage and determination. But let me never forget the blessing: When I show one step of courage, He matches it with a multi-millionfold of His help. It is like the story of the little lamp and the storm. Yes, the storms are big and ferocious, they come to uproot everything around me, they come to trample my world. But like the little lamp, when I choose courage over cowardice, when I choose to face rather than bow down, the Lord is bound to help.

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